Seize the debtor's property

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A warrant to seize property enables a bailiff to take property that belongs to the debtor and sell it to pay the debt.

You give us an address and we send a bailiff to seize the debtor’s property at that address. It is important you provide up-to-date contact details for the debtor.

The bailiff can only take property that the debtor owns.

How to apply for a warrant to seize property

Fill in the application for a warrant to seize property. You can only provide one address for one debtor per application.

Application for warrant to seize property form [PDF, 213 KB]

Post it to:

Ministry of Justice
Central Registry

Write the address as written above and send it the same way as any other mail. You can use an NZ Post mail box. If you use a DX mail box your mail will get to us faster(external link)

Or file the application at your nearest district court.

When you file the application, you must:

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Asking the bailiff to seize specific property

If you know that the debtor owns something specific that is valuable, you can ask the bailiff to seize it. You need to:

  • provide evidence that the debtor owns the property
  • fill out the Instruction to Bailiff to Seize Specific Property form.

Instruction to bailiff to seize specific property form [PDF, 184 KB]

If you want the bailiff to seize a vehicle, you should check the Personal Property Securities Register. It will show if a company or another person already has a financial interest in the vehicle.

Check the Personal Property Securities Register(external link)

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After you file the application

The bailiff will go to the address you put on the application form and attempt to seize the debtor’s property.

There is no timeframe for this process due to a number of factors i.e. location of goods to be seized and locating the debtor, but you should receive a letter notifying you of the outcome within 8 weeks.

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If the bailiff seizes property

The debtor has 5 working days to pay the debt in full. If they have not paid after 5 working days, their property is sold at public auction. Money from the sale will be used:

  1. to pay costs of having the property seized and sold, such as towage and auction fees
  2. then you will be paid from the rest.

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If the bailiff cannot find the debtor

If the bailiff cannot find the debtor at the address you have given, you will need to:

  • file a new address or
  • consider a different enforcement application.

Learn how to file a new address

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If the bailiff cannot find the debtor’s property

If the bailiff cannot find property worth seizing you will be notified.

If this happens and you find out the debtor has property, you can apply to the court to reissue the warrant. You will need to pay the fee.

Civil enforcement fees

Contact us to find out about applying to have a warrant reissued

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